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National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – COVID-19 has resulted in last months’ consumer confidence index falling to its lowest in 21 years and seven months, but the Thai Chamber of Commerce believes a relaxation of lockdown measures, coupled with government stimuli, can still reinvigorate the domestic economy.

A consumer confidence survey, conducted in April, revealed downward movement across the board for the 14th month in a row, resulting in the lowest rating in 21 years and seven months, or since the index began.

The figure dropped from 50.3 points the previous month to 47.2 due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic and its present and future impacts on the Thai economy, as well as rising unemployment.

The President of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), Asst. Prof. Dr. Thanavath Phonvichai, said the Thai economy is entering a recession after experiencing negative growth for a third quarter in a row and positive growth is only expected from the fourth quarter this year onward.

The forecast is based on the expectation that businesses will resume at the end of the year, and 400 billion baht in government stimuli will begin to enter the economy in August, helping to offset a projected contraction of 8.8 percent.

The contraction is now believed to be between 3.5 and 5.5 percent.

According to the UTCC President, the pandemic has removed an estimated 50 percent from the normal 600 billion baht in circulation, but up to 200 billion baht is expected to return if more business restrictions are lifted on May 17. The Thai economy is expected to show a clear recovery in the second quarter of 2021.

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Reporter : Praphorn Praphornkul /Rewriter : Asma Thinkohkaew

National News Bureau & Public Relations : http://thainews.prd.go.th

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Economics

BoI Plans More Efforts to Promote BCG Economy

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The Board of Investment (BoI) is working with related agencies to rev up promotion of the bio-, circular and green (BCG) economy to help drive growth over the next 5 years.

BoI Secretary-General Duangjai Asawachintachit said the BoI is looking into more business categories for high technology as part of efforts to promote the BCG economy.

She said the government is focused on developing the bio-economy as Thailand has more than 30 million people working in the farm sector, yet most of them remain in poverty.

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Ecommerce

Covid-19 and medical tourism: is a recovery on the cards?

Oxford Business Group

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Covid-19 and medical tourism: is a recovery on the cards?
– Before the pandemic, medical tourism was a major growth area
– Dubai was a world leader among emerging market destinations
– Covid-19 travel bans and lockdowns seriously dented growth
– Increased emphasis on safety has enabled a gradual re-opening

Prior to the outbreak of coronavirus, medical tourism was a significant growth industry in many emerging economies. While the pandemic represented a major setback for the segment, there are signs that it may be recovering in several markets.

The last decade saw a boom in medical tourism. By 2018 the global market was generating $58.6bn annually and in 2019 it was forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.7% – reaching more than $142.2bn by 2026.

The segment’s growth was largely spurred by increased awareness – particularly among citizens of higher-income countries – of the quality and relatively affordable health care options on offer in many emerging economies. The appeal was further enhanced by the possibility of combining medical treatment with a holiday in an attractive location.

Asia has been a popular region for medical tourism for some time. In Thailand, for example, guided by the Ministry of Public Health’s 2016-25 strategic plan entitled ‘Thailand: A Hub of Wellness and Medical Services’, stakeholders have been working to cement the country’s position as a regional leader in medical tourism.

Elsewhere in Asia, in 2017 the Indian government began offering a medical visa aimed at bringing in more foreign patients. 

Governments in other regions similarly moved to capitalise on this growing segment. In 2015, for example, Turkish Airlines announced a 50% discount on flights for people coming to Turkey for medical treatment.

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Economics

Thai Government Promotes Circular Economy

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The Industry Ministry aims to increase social awareness among 65 factories this year to promote environmentally friendly production under the circular economy model.

Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said the government is committed to safeguarding the environment and communities through a campaign for business sustainability.

He said factories that join the government’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) project will benefit from waste and cost reduction based on high technology.

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